The calendar below, created by Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, is an excellent way to keep on top of religious high holy days and festivals as they go by. It is especially useful for those in interfaith vocations who need this information on a day-to-day basis.
TIO is cooperating with another “working” religious calendar project being led by Read the Spirit. It extends what we usually mean by religious calendar to include important civic holidays. It identifies major religious holidays more than a year in advance. Most important, it features stories about what these many religious festival events are all about – what they mean, the important stories, the food associated, and how particular events are celebrated. Your own stories of religious holidays, whatever your tradition, are welcomed at the site. Check it out!
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Religious Holy Days in August & September 2014
For Native Americans, August marks the season of Wilhoon, the season marking the salmon runs of late summer; the Hopi Snake Dances, marking a sixteen-day ritual of purification; the Stomp Dance, performed by Seminole and other Oklahoma tribes as a time of renewal and purification; the Sun Dance, observed by Plains peoples (Arapaho, Cheyenne, Shoshone, Arikara, Crow, Sioux, and others) as a time of penitence and sacrifice; and the Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony, a time of renewal involving dances, fasting, offerings, and readings from the code of Handsome Lake.
September marks the season of Genuuqwiikw, the season of mountain trails and the beginning of the fall hunt for game; the Iroquois Green Corn Ceremony, a time of renewal involving dances, fasting, offerings, and readings from the code of Handsome Lake; and the Jicarilla Apache Ghost Dance in New Mexico.
Friday, August 1
Kamál – Bahá’í
The beginning of the eighth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “perfection.”
Lughnassadh [Lammas] – Wicca
The harvest of first fruits, celebrating the harvest of corn and wheat. Wiccan practitioners see this time as a signal of the god Lugh’s decline of strength as the sun rises farther south each day, while the Goddess witnesses this season with sorrow and joy. It is both a somber and celebratory feast day.
Monday, August 4
Tisha B’Av – Judaism
Beginning at sundown, a solemn day of mourning and fasting for the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other tragedies in Jewish history that coincide with this date.
Wednesday, August 6
Feast of the Transfiguration – Christianity (Western and Eastern churches)
Celebrates the manifestation of Jesus’ divinity as God’s Son to his disciples Peter, James, and John on Mount Tabor.
Friday, August 8
Fravardeghan Days [Muktad] begin – Zoroastrianism
A time of memorializing one’s ancestors in preparation for Nowruz [see August 18], according to Zoroastrians who follow the Shenshai calendar.
Sunday, August 10
Zhōngyuán Jié [Ghost Festival] – Taoism
According to Chinese Taoist belief, this day is when deceased ancestors visit the homes of the living. Families prepare feasts and set tables with empty chairs so that the living and the dead can share the meal together.
Narali Purnima or Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan – Hinduism
Celebrating the end of monsoon season, marked by throwing coconuts to Varuna, the sea god. During this festival, girls and women tie amulets on their brothers’ wrists for protection against evil.
Ullambana – Buddhism
A day when Buddhists make offerings to the Triple Gem—the Buddha, the Dharma [teachings], and the Sangha [monastic community]—on behalf of their ancestors.
Friday, August 15
Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Christianity [Catholic churches]
According to the Catholic Church, this day commemorates how, at the end of her life, Jesus’ mother Mary was assumed—body and soul—into heaven, where she intercedes for all believers.
Dormition of the Theotokos or Most Holy Mother of God – Christianity [Orthodox churches]
According to the Orthodox Church, this day marks Mary’s death and resurrection by God, as a sign to all believers of their ultimate destiny.
Monday, August 18
Nowruz – Zoroastrianism
The start of the New Year for Zoroastrians who follow the Shenshai calendar, beginning the year 1384 AY [After Yazdegird III, the last of the Persian Zoroastrian monarchs].
Sri Krishna Jayanti or Krishna Janmashtami – Hinduism
A festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god Vishnu, whose purpose was to destroy the demon Kansa who was responsible for evil’s increase in the world.
Wednesday, August 20
Asmā’ – Bahá’í
The beginning of the ninth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “names.”
Friday, August 22
Paryusana or Paryushan Parva begins – Jainism
The beginning of an eight-day festival that is considered a holy convocation by Jains. Believers impose restraints on their daily activities by fasting, meditation, and prayer. The last day of Paryusana is called Samvatsari (Saturday, August 30) and is a solemn occasion for examining one’s thoughts and feelings, and for asking forgiveness for offenses committed against others through deeds, words, or thoughts.
Saturday, August 23
Khordad Sal – Zoroastrianism
The birth anniversary of the prophet Zarathustra (Zoroaster), according to the Shenshai calendar.
Tuesday, August 26
Festival of Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva – Buddhism
Celebrating Ksitigarbha (Jizō) Bodhisattva, the savior of beings who suffer in the hellish realms, as well as the guardian of expectant mothers, travelers, and deceased children in Japanese culture.
Friday, August 29
Ganesh Chaturthi – Hinduism
A festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh, the god who removes obstacles and brings luck.
Das Laxanä Parva begins – Jainism
The Festival of the Ten Virtues, celebrated over ten days by the Digambara Jains, helps believers to recall and practice forgiveness, tenderness or humility, honesty, contentment or purity, truth, self-restraint, austerities, charity, celibacy, and non-attachment.
Monday, September 1
First Parkash – Sikhism
The commemoration of the installation of the Adi Granth, the first edition of the Sikh scriptures, in the Golden Temple by Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh guru, in 1604 C.E.
Monday, September 8
‘Izzat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the tenth month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “might.”
Nativity of the Mother of God [Theotokos] or Birth of the Blessed Virgin – Christianity
This festival celebrates the birth of Mary, the mother of Jesus of Nazareth. In Eastern Orthodox churches she is known by the honorific of Theotokos.
Ananta-chaturdasi – Jainism
The Festival of the Ten Virtues, which is the holiest day of Dashalakshani-parva for the Digambara sect.
Tuesday, September 9
Ksamavani – Jainism
A day of universal forgiveness, in which Jains ask forgiveness of others for wrongs committed during the previous year, and they also forgive those who have caused them suffering.
Pitr-paksha or Mahalay Paksha – Hinduism
The beginning of a two-week period during which Hindu adherents perform shraddha rites to gratify the spirits of their deceased ancestors, including giving food or other donations as a form of charitable service.
Thursday, September 11
Ethiopian New Year – Rastafari
A sacred day for Rastafarians because they consider Ethiopia to be their spiritual homeland, to which they aspire to return.
Friday, September 12
Ghambar Paitishahem – Zoroastrianism [through Tuesday, September 16]
This festival celebrates the creation of the earth and the summer harvest.
Sunday, September 14
Elevation or Exultation of the Holy Cross – Christianity
This day recognizes the Cross as a symbol of Christ’s love for humankind and God’s victory over death. It also marks the finding of the Holy Cross by St. Helen after it had been stolen in the 7th century C.E. Orthodox churches begin their commemoration at sundown on the preceding day. In the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition, this day is known as Mesket and is marked on September 28th.
Sunday, September 22 autumn equinox
Shuki-sorei-sai – Shinto
A memorial service similar to the March equinox service (Shunki-sorei-sai), this day is marked by the cleaning and purification of gravesites and the reverence of ancestors as kami, or divine spirits.
Ohigon – Buddhism
A celebration of the equinox that is of particular importance to Japanese, Korean, and Tibetan Buddhists. During this festival, the six Paramitas [virtues] are emphasized: generosity, morality, wisdom, honesty, endeavor, and patience.
Autumn Feast – Native American spirituality
A day to honor the harvest end and the coming and going of the seasons, including prayers, songs, and the telling of tribal stories.
Mabon [Harvest Home] – Wicca
Marking the second or continuing harvest, this festival celebrates life’s encapsulation as a seed to survive the cold winter, as well as the Harvest of the Vine, which symbolizes the divine power to transform the nectar of youth into the wine of elders’ wisdom and spiritual maturity.
Wednesday, September 24
Rosh Hashanah begins – Judaism
Beginning at sundown is New Year’s Day for the year 5775 and the anniversary of the creation of the world. Jews celebrate Rosh Hashanah with the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) and apples and honey, marking it as the first of the Ten Days of Awe [or Repentance].
Thursday, September 25
Navaratra or Navaratri Dusserha – Hinduism
The beginning of a nine-day festival of the divine mother, honoring Shiva’s wife Durga and seeking her blessings. It is also observed as a celebration recalling the days of Lord Krishna. Fasting and prayer are practiced.
Saturday, September 27
Mashí’yyat – Bahá’í
The beginning of the eleventh month of the Bahá’í year, meaning “perfection.”
Fast of Gedaliah – Judaism
A fast in memory of Gedaliah Ben Ahikam, the governor of Israel during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylonia, who was assassinated in 581 B.C.E. Following his death, the Jews who had returned to Judah fled to Egypt, thus vacating the land of a Jewish presence and completing the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem.
Sunday, September 28
Birth of Confucius – Confucianism
The birthday of the philosopher Confucius [K’ung-tzu] in 551 B.C.E. in the Chinese state of Lu, known today as Shandong Province.
Monday, September 29
St. Michael and All Angels – Christianity
A celebration of the archangel Michael and all angels (from the Greek angelos, “divine messenger”) mentioned in the Bible.
If you want more information about any of these holy days, please contact Spiritual Care Services at 415-353-1941 (Rev. Dr. Michele Shields) or 415-353-2319 (Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark). Our thanks to the Chicago Center for Cultural Connections, the Multifaith Action Soceity of British Columbia (Canada), and www.interfaithcalendar.org.